“I believe that right now is the best time in the history of the universe to start something.”
Technology has made the world more of a meritocracy than its ever been and traditional obstacles to success are quickly collapsing. Everywhere you look, there’s an opportunity to take something important and make it better. I want to work with people who think it’s their job to do that. I started my first company when I was 17, and my life’s work is to help amazing people change the world through entrepreneurship and invention.
I’m the co-founder and executive chairman of Evernote and was the CEO until joining General Catalyst. I’m really proud of Evernote. We changed the world; we made many millions of people more productive and reinvigorated an industry that hadn’t seen much innovation in thirty years. Starting with some sketches on a napkin, we built a globally great brand, an honest business model, and a beloved product. The journey at Evernote continues and I’m eager to take the lessons I learned there and help others apply them to their own startups. I still have the napkin.
Great products have a point of view. I’m interested in any startup ideas that create exceptional user experiences for accomplishing important things. For making the world simpler, easier, more convenient, faster, fairer, and more interesting. It doesn’t matter whether it’s for your work life or personal life or both. It’s actually better if it’s for both because I believe that the line between “enterprise” and “consumer” is artificial and disintegrating. Let’s help it disintegrate faster.
If I could write the inscription on my own tombstone, it would say, “Phil Libin. Enthusiast (1972 – unknown, last seen on Mars).” Personally, I’m a giant nerd. I love tech and gadgets and sci-fi and food. There are all sorts of random topics that I know more about than I should. I like to imagine what the world will look like in twenty years and work backwards from there. More than anything, I like working with founders. I love being there at the moment of inception when a new idea seems ridiculously cool and ridiculously hard. I’ve been lucky to have that moment a few times, and I’ve learned something about how to take it from there. I can’t wait to support a new generation of founders in their moment.
I can’t believe this is my job.
Angel investments: Gusto (fka ZenPayroll), TellApart, NewAer, Binary Thumb.
Previous companies co-founded: Evernote, CoreStreet, Engine Five.